Monday, August 21, 2006

Monsoons and graffiti

When we moved to New Mexico 18 years ago, we were told that "June is hot, then come the Monsoons, and it cools off." Coming from South Carolina, where it knows how to rain, we were bemused when "Monsoons" turned out to be mostly humidity punctuated by a few (very welcome) brief thundershowers, for a grand total of about 3 inches of rain in 6 weeks. In the desert, you enjoy every drop, but somehow, "monsoons" seemed over-descriptive.

Well, this year, we've had Monsoons. We're in our 8th week of nearly daily rain, downpoors, and floods. (and most trying of all, humidity levels topping 50%, which renders our evaporative coolers ineffective. We complain a lot about this.) My little rain gauge has logged over 7 inches, and it underreports. The last downpoor backed up the sewers at the church, so today all is in an uproar as carpets are replaced.

That would have been bad enough, but last week, we were hit with a wave of vandalism. Nearly 30 windows on our campus, most plate glass types which cost about $300 a piece to replace, were ruined with etched script. Not Really graffiti, we were told by the police; just kids. And then, on Saturday night, we were hit with a spatter of gunshots, cracking windows and damaging frames. The police assured us that we were probably not the target; if the shots had been aimed at us, they would have done far more damage.

We have insurance, of course, so our out of pocket expenses will probably only $2,000, but that's $2,000 that won't be available to paint walls or do the planting of cactus that the police recommend for the beds in front of our largest windows. It's enough to make one believe in bad Karma, making me wonder what we're not doing that we should be doing, and my Administrator to talk about bad energy, the cure of which, in her opinion, is banishing negative talk. She'd probably frown on my fantasies of catching a few kids red handed and sitting on them until the police came, but such is my anger about their vandalism. In the meantime, the staff is going to have lunch together on the back patio, far from the bad smells and chaos in the office. If, that is, it doesn't rain.


ms. kitty said...

Christine, what a rotten thing to have happen! I am so sorry to hear about the vandalism First Albuquerque has experienced. We are all vulnerable to that sort of thing, as keepers of a structure and a community, and I think about it as my Whidbey folks get ready to build their little church in the woods on the main highway out of Freeland. It's not isolated, but it's probably tempting to those who get a kick out of making others unhappy. We may have our own mess to clean up one of these days; it seems to be part of the current landscape of anger and vengeance.

Turtle Mountain said...

You could always declare a War on Vandalism and invade and occupy the nearest ghetto. Costly, but gets the juices running. Nasty blighters - always picking on rich people.

Christine Robinson said...

The police have issued a second opinion; it is gang violence..a turf war on our corner, goddess help us!

There are some wars you can't win by direct force, and this is probably one of them. But it is maddening. How sad it will be if we have to fence our garden; the gardeners have said that many of our neighbors, all apartment dwellers, have told them that they appreciate our little patch of natural beauty. In the end, the poor are hurt far more than the rich by gangs.